This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at http://connermccall.com. Images and links are likely to be broken.

Kill Hannah is Alive

I have officially become a fan of Last.fm. Ever since I started using Amarok as my media player I have been submitting tracks at a frantic pace. So far I've discovered a few artists, but I wanted to direct you to my favorite so far Kill Hannah. Check out their song Lips Like Morphine. Good stuff!

Oh and check out my Last.fm page if you want.

Polenta

I got home from a long day at work yesterday cracked a ice cold Murphy's Stout and thought about what to make for dinner. Ever since the Amateur Gourmet wrote about Polenta, it has been in the back of my mind. So I decided to give it a try. Instead of grabbing the recipe from the Amateur Gourmet web site, I just opened up my "Joy of Cooking" and took the recipe from there. Basically it called for four cups of water to one cup of Corn Meal. Cook for 30-40 minutes and then add some salt and Parmesan cheese.

So I started the water boiling, poured the in the corn meal and waited. Added about a 1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan and a bit of salt and got ready to try some. I have to say it was not amazing, but it definitely was good comfort food. Of course I was just cooking for myself so I had quite a bit left over. What do you do with left over Polenta?

Well the only idea I've had so far was breakfast. I just warmed some up and added a bit of honey and went to town. I have to say it was better this morning than last night and most definitely kept me full until lunch.

Thoughts:

  1. Polenta definitely need help to be tasty
  2. Make sure you add the Corn Meal slowly or you can be guaranteed to have lumps
  3. Polenta is versatile
  4. Polenta is very filling
  5. Polenta would be an excellent side dish with mozerella a bit of tomato sauce and some Italian spices.

New Header Image

Music Nirvana

Not to be confused with the band, though they do take a close second.

I've jumped back on the Linux wagon and have officially switched to Ubuntu 100% of the time at home. This wasn't difficult, but it has made me follow the Linux/Ubuntu world a lot closer. Of course, the usual jibber jabber that comes out of any open source project was overlooked as usual, until I found out Ubuntu is switching to a new audio server PulseAudio. I play a lot of music on my system; in fact it's the only think I use to listen to music at home, so I was interested.

As I started perusing the docs I found out that PulseAudio is a pretty cool system. It sits between your applications and whatever the current sound system you are using and just takes the audio and passes it on. However, it is even better, it's networked. Why is this so cool you may be asking? Because now you can setup a multi-room music box and all you need to play the same music in all rooms is a networked computer hooked up to a set of speakers.

So I started thinking, I currently use Amarok as my music player of choice for the desktop. I used to be a big MPD fan, but the lack of good music library support made me switch, but I loved the ability to customize my interface, and be able to control my music from any computer with a network connection.

So I started looking into mpd again, but it had the same issues as before. Then I stumbled upon this gem mpdemu. This little script is a wonderful idea. It takes the MPD calls and translates them into Amarok calls. This will allow you to control Amarok with any MPD client.

So my wheels are spinning, I am thinking along these lines. A central server in your entertainment room with a nice display running Amarok. This serve would serve as a PulseAudio server. Then if you wanted to add music to any other machine all you need to do is install Ubuntu, setup PulseAudio as a client and suddenly whatever you play in your entertainment room is being played every where else. On top of that, if you happen to be elsewhere in your house and have a laptop with you, just log into your web based MPD client and pass whatever commands you wish and change songs, update your play list, and do all kinds of magic.

Okay, obviously, some kinks need to be worked out, but the idea is cool. The best system would be to have Amarok control MPD, but with a little hacking I think a really cool muti room setup may be possible. So wish me luck, I actually have a technology project I’m excited about and I plan on sharing my success with everyone else.

Changes

As this blog is new, I am making some changes to the content that I will offer. Instead of focusing on marketing, I am going to expand my content to include some technology posts along with other observations I make about the activity around me. I decided that marketing was too limiting of a topic as I have very little experiencing and just pull from my knowledge from school and reading. I hope that I will be able to add more to this blog on a weekly basis then I have over the last two week.

Off Topic

Happy Customers

Via TechDirt,

Why do you think CBS continues to pull in high ratings? I would bet having happy customers who don't feel like criminals might have something to do with it. Of course having great shows is a plus.

This is how to Launch an Online App

The first step of course is to have a compelling product. In this case, Mint.com definitely delivers. The next step is to launch with a bang. Mint is obviously could be defined as a Web 2.0 company, though it does not say anything to that effect on their website. They launched during TechCrunch40 and won by being the best presenting company. Now they are on Lifehacker, Digg, and a host of other sites. This means they have a lot of traffic and their new users are going to have above average technology skills.

So what do we have

  1. Great application
  2. Great Launch Platform
  3. Wide scale exposure for free
  4. An initial class of users that will help improve your product
  5. Oh and don't forget the $50,000 they won by being the best presenter

See marketing is not hard and does not have to be costly. Just be good at a few things and use them to your advantage. In this case, the founders have great presentation skills and a compelling enough product to warrant entrance to the event. Now they have had a successful launch that should lead to profitability if their business model is sound.

Pass the Kool-Aid

Your marketing department should never be isolated. No matter the size of your company, the second your marketing strategy changes everyone should know about it. Unfortunately, most companies do not seem to realize how important this is. I am not talking about calling a meeting at telling your employees that from now on we need to tell our customers that the company mascot changed; instead, they should understand what the overall strategy is and how they fit into the grand strategy.

If you are trying to position your company as a price leader, then tell your salespeople to focus on cost savings for their customers. Are you trying to position yourself as a leader in quality after years of being a price leader? You had better be sure your salespeople know that quality is foremost. They should know it is okay to lose a sale because the customer wanted to save a few dollars by cutting some important corners, which would jeopardize quality.

If you are a restaurant that has decided that you want to become the number one spot for Fantasy Football, then talk to your staff and find out who participates in Fantasy Football, and ask them if they would like to work on the nights your are hosting drafts. For that matter host an employee only draft and post the results for your customers to see. Are you trying to entice local football fans? Get your employees into it, let them have fun by watching the game with their customers even if it just means spending five minutes cheering when the home team scores.

There is so much more to marketing then just fancy commercials, great stories, and sticky ideas. You need to get everyone involved in the act. I am always amazed when I call a company that has feel good billboards and TV spots and the person who answers the phone just does not care. If your employees do not buy your marketing strategy, why would your customers?

One company that I think exemplifies this kind of marketing mistake is Best Buy. If you watch Best Buy’s ads, the employees are always excited to help you and seem like the kind of people you want to invite over to check out your new big screen on Sunday. Is this the case when you walk into Best Buy? Rarely, typically their employees just go about their business without having much fun at all. Why not let your employees play video games with your customers, show off last nights game in HD, or turn up the volume on the car stereo a customer is interested in? Your marketing story is about having fun with electronics, so let your employees participate.

The point I am making is marketing starts with the customer already in the store. Marketing should have an impact on everything you do, and internal marketing is the cheapest kind of marketing. A company wide memo costs nothing compares to a single radio ad at 5:30 PM, and the memo can have a bigger effect on your customer base than even the most well designed radio spot.

Shout Outs!

Totally agree with Seth on this. This is why I completely agreed with Sprint when they let 1,000 customers go. True these are different things, but when a select group of customers is taking advantage of the system, it not only hurts your profitability but your other more profitable customers suffer as well.

Maybe my lifelong failure to master any specific skill is not a terrible thing. fourhourworkweek.com

Could not enjoy this excerpt any more.